Daily Archives: 04/07/2020

Governor issues ‘home or work’ order

COLUMBIA — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory statewide “home or work” order Monday in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The order took effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday and permits travel including commuting for work, visiting family and obtaining essential goods or services. The order will not impact residents’ ability to exercise outdoors or go for a walk as a family, but says everyone should act responsibly and practice social distancing and proper personal hygiene.

“As we have said before – when the science, data, facts and

DHEC: County may have dozens more virus cases

COLUMBIA — Pickens County had 20 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus as of Monday afternoon, but the county could actually have nearly seven times that many cases undiagnosed, according to state officials.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 183 new cases of the virus across the state on Monday, including the two latest cases that bumped Pickens County up to 20, but a ZIP code breakdown showed nearly 160 possible cases in the county.

“These estimated counts represent those who are potentially undiagnosed,” DHEC said on its website. “By including estimates, we hope to better convey more meaningful information about the risk of disease spread in our community. We encourage everyone to continue to take action to protect themselves and those they love.”

The most confirmed cases in Pickens County have come in the Easley’s 29642

Showing support

County-led campaign salutes first responders, other essential workers

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — During a pandemic, when residents are urged — and, as of Tuesday evening, ordered — to go out only as needed, maintaining a sense of community can be difficult.

A Pickens County campaign aims to unite residents in saluting those who are on the frontlines fighting the coronavirus.

A red ribbon campaign kicked off Thursday afternoon, county community relations manager Jamie Burns said in a release.

“For some of us, doing our part means staying home to help slow the spread of the virus,” she said.

Participants can show their support for essential workers by displaying a red ribbon on doors, in yards or other visible areas “to signify that

Gettys Middle School worker positive for virus

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

EASLEY — A Gettys Middle School employee has tested positive for the coronavirus after having contact with other staff members and parents.

Gettys principal Mike Cory emailed parents, students and staff Sunday night.

“Today we were saddened to learn that a Gettys Middle School employee has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19),” Cory wrote. “The employee is in good condition, and we hope for a full

Letter, officials detail election office situation

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal

PICKENS — With the June primary just two months away, dependent on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pickens County is trying to replace its elections director and election commission.

Longtime director Rodney Allen submitted his resignation, effective March 31, followed by the remaining five members of the county’s board of registrations and elections — Kathleen Hare, Gretchen Campbell,

Pickens honors senior athletes with banners along Main Street

By Bru Nimmons

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — The COVID-19 pandemic has left many things up in the air around the country, including many of America’s favorite pastimes.

All of America’s major sports leagues have shut down, and the South Carolina High School League has postponed athletics until at least the beginning of May.

With many of the county’s high school senior athletes preparing themselves for the possibility they will never take the field again, a group of local residents have stepped up to see that Pickens High School’s seniors get the recognition they deserve.

It all began over the weekend of March 28, as Gina Johnson scrolled through Facebook. Johnson, whose daughter, PHS senior Brooklyn Johnson, has been a member of the Blue Flame softball program since seventh grade, came across a post from a small town in Tennessee that

Statewide burning ban now in effect

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Forestry Commission declare a State Forester’s Burning Ban for all counties this week.

The ban, which took effect at 6 a.m. Tuesday, prohibits outdoor burning anywhere outside of city or town limits in South Carolina, including:

• yard debris burns;

• forestry, wildlife or agricultural burns (also known as prescribed, or controlled,

Roper: Census still important during crisis

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

COUNTY — County government won’t be immune to the financial hardships causing by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mitigating that impact is another reason why an accurate 2020 Census count is so important to Pickens County.

Acting county administrator Ken Roper discussed the census during his daily Facebook Live update Monday. Roper has been doing daily updates on the platform during the week recently to update residents on the coronavirus and other topics.

An accurate census will help “make sure that we get the fair share that Pickens County deserves for our population from different federal sources, including from the National Strategic Stockpile,” he said.

In recent days, Liberty, Easley and Pickens have led the census responses, Roper said.

Roper urged Norris Mayor Odell Williams and town clerk Ann Clardy to nudge local residents of that town.

“Ann, I want you to start baking cakes and telling people that if they fill out their census questionaire, you’ll give them one of your cakes,” Roper said. “Norris, y’all need to step up and do this.”

During county council’s meeting Monday evening, council chairman Roy Costner asked Roper about the census.

“That has been a big topic,” Costner said. “Now that we’re in the middle of this, and at least everybody’s at home (with) a better opportunity to respond, how is the county doing with regards to the census?”

Roper said he had “some good news.”

“A couple weeks back, we were lagging behind significantly,” Roper said.

But recently, “Pickens County moved above the state average in our census response,” he said.

“We’re now responding as a county above what the average of the state response was,” he said.

Some areas in the county are lagging, though, Roper told council.

“I think if I tell them to you, you’ll know exactly why they’re lagging,” he said. “Central and Clemson are lagging, and they normally lag because of the huge amount of the student population — and the students aren’t there, in many cases.”

Information received from the Census Bureau Monday said “about 1 in 4 are actually in town,” Roper said.

“The rest of them are probably back home,” he said.

County GIS staff is assisting census employees, Roper said.

“We’re going to keep trying to push on that, and keep trying to get a better count, a more complete count, in Central and Clemson,” he said.

While Six Mile, Liberty and parts of Easley, have “really good numbers,” there’s still ground to be gained, Roper said.

“That means that 45 percent of the people have responded,” he said. “That is a challenge. If 45 percent is a good number…we still have more than half that can still respond and help our numbers even more.”

For people self-isolating at home, it’s a great time to go to and respond, Roper said.


County council approves first reading of budget

Proposal includes no tax, fee increases

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Pickens County Council passed first reading of the proposed budget Monday night.

Council held its April meeting remotely via Zoom Monday night. The meeting is available to watch on the county’s YouTube channel.

“Wants are not reflected in this budget… but instead only needs,” acting county administrator Ken Roper said during the meeting.

During a Facebook Live update earlier that day, Roper discussed the budget and how the COVID-19 pandemic had changed the way the budget was being approached this year.

“One day this will be over and the county will have to have its budget in place,” Roper said.

First reading is in title only and is to “start the process,” he said.

“Council gave me some direction a couple of weeks ago, and one of the things they told me was they didn’t want this budget to add to

State of emergency declaration extended

PICKENS — Pickens County remains in a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

County council voted Monday evening to extend the state of emergency declaration until council’s May meeting.

“Since March 20, we have been in a state of emergency in Pickens County,” acting county administrator Ken Roper said. “We are now up to 19 active COVID-19 cases in the county. Government is still functioning. We’re going to what I would describe as extraordinary efforts to